category: Elementary School

Super Laze

If you ask any relative or family friend about my early childhood, they won’t mention a “security blanket” or a favorite stuffed animal that I carried everywhere. They’ll mention a cape.

When I was three or four I went to a day camp during the summer at a local elementary school. Miss Judy was my group’s leader. Though I don’t have many memories of her, I do specifically her taking me into the women’s bathroom to wash a cut or to get me stop crying. And I remember when she gave me “the cape.”

“The cape” was really nothing more than a red scarf made of a very thin fabric. But when it was connected my neck with a safety pin, it became Superman’s cape. I wore that cape everywhere

August 1979   August 1979
August 1979, Super Laze relaxing with dad and Dutchess in front of the TV.
 
August 1979, Could I have been more super? With the cape and sitting behind the Superman pillow, I was ready to leap tall buildings.

Everything I did, I had to be wearing that cape. And I’d even make my stuffed animals wear a cape: by putting a white handkerchief transforming Sylvester the Cat into Super Sylvester…

October 1979   October 1979
October 1979, Celebrating a birthday with my cape and a Spiderman cake.
 
October 1979, Surprise! I was Superman for Halloween. And Sylvester was ready to fly, too.

If that cape was in the wash, a dishtowel would do. And I was also fortunate enough to have several pairs of pajamas with capes that would work, in a pinch…

December 1979

Christmas 1979, Wearing my Superman pajamas mismatched with my Battlestar Galactica cape.

“Give my my presents or I’ll burn a hole through you with my laser vision!”

I must have worn that cape for another year or two, because I specifically remember playing with my sister (who was born just before the last picture above was taken) acting as Clark Kent (without the cape) and reappearing as Superman (with the cape) seconds later. Though I would occasionally pose as other superheroes (I would use a mesh-like blanket, yelling “wae-hee-hee, wae-hee-hee” to imitate the noise of Spiderman casting his web), but deep down inside, I knew I was really the Man of Steel.

Rest assured: I still have the cape. And it still fits. Up, up, and away!

My Journals

Journal

My first journal entry.

A few weeks ago I came across all of my old diaries/journals, dating back to when I was 5 years old (my very first entry from just over 20 years ago: “NO FRIENDS, TO PLAY WITH”). Though I haven’t kept a journal consistently, I have had a number of journals over the years that represent very distinct parts of my life:

  • 1981-1983 [ages 5-7]… These were in a blue notebook that was originally my mom’s high school notebook. My writing got significantly better from start to finish. Drawings of football players were interspersed with mispellings like “poboly” (probably).
  • 1983-1987 [ages 8-11]… I was an angry kid and it really shows in this journal, but I also kept track of standard everyday events and signficant life-events. The second entry talks about a trip to a friend’s house to play Smurfs on his Colecovision (mispelled as “Colocovishon”). Interestingly, this journal also mentions my first kiss (and has the girl’s name, Cindy, which I had forgotten until I rediscovered this journal). Some days my entries were simple: “7/8/1985: Shit.” And other days, I made very astute observations like, “1986 would not be anything without: Rap and girls.” Amen, brother, amen.
  • 1988 [age 12]… I kept this journal for our trip to California when I was in sixth grade. I was more concerned with writing down the names of the attendants on the train ride than any deep thoughts about my first trip to the left coast.
  • 1992-1994 [age 16-18]… During my high school years, I kept a journal on my Laser 128ex Apple II-compatible. I chronicled my (limited) dating experiences as well as my thoughts on the high school that I hated with every fiber of my being. I went five years without reading these entries, and when I went back to do so after hooking up my old computer, I was absolutely engrossed. I spent an hour a day for three straight days following the story of my life like I was an outsider. I could feel my stomach tensing up during certain points and had moments of lucidity about other events a full seven years after the fact.
  • 1997 [age 21]… This brief journal was from the first semester of my Junior year of college.
  • 1998 [age 22]… This journal was from my trip to Vietnam with Huyen and her mother.
  • 2000-current [age 24-current]… I now keep my journal on my computer, once again. The entries are sporadic, but now I see how valuable looking back at old journals can be, so I try to make each entry worthwhile.

I keep my current journal using DavidRM’s The Journal software, which is simply outstanding. I’ve transferred all my entries from high school to this new program and added an extra “Afterthoughts” tab that allows me to pontificate on the grander meaning of earlier entries. I have begun to type the entries from my Vietnam journal and plan on transcribing ALL of my old journal entries into this program, including scans (if necessary) of my early entries. I also plan to add a tab for my dream journal, which I’ve kept for over a year now.

I always felt like I never wrote enough in terms of journal entries, but looking back at the various journals representing most of the major portions of my life, I realized I actually wrote quite a bit. Combine them with my blogs and these “Soft Rain” entries and I think I should have some pretty good material for my biography when I’m 50.

(See also: Daily Ping)

Muddy Monday the 13th

Mud

No, this isn’t me. But it’s some other guy who’s muddy.

It was May 13, 1985. I was in fourth grade.

That afternoon, I was playing on the playground after lunch, enjoying the smell in the air after the previous night’s rain. For whatever reason, I was running after my friend Adam when I saw him step in a mud puddle, slip, and slide into it, full-body.

About the time I saw him start to slip, I realized I had no chance in hell of stopping myself from following suit. I began my slip-and-slide into the large mud puddle as Adam was finishing his. As I came to a halt, my clothes covered in mud, Adam and I looked at each other, realizing the ridicule that would follow. A girl from our class started things off by yelling “Safe!” and motioning like an umpire.

But the most humiliating part was yet to come.

We were sent to the nurse’s office for a change of clothes. Mrs. Gilday pulled out this large cardboard box with scraps of clothing in it and told us to pick out some clothes to wear. As Adam I rummaged through it, a wave of panic swept over us: the Bradys would have been embarassed to wear these clothes.

Striped tube socks

Why did these ever go out of fashion?

I ended up picking out some incredibly tiny shorts that were entirely too short for me and a pair of thin white tube socks with the stripes on them. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about (see left). The shirt was a remnant of the 70s even moreso than the rest of my styling outfit.

Adam was even worse off. He was bigger than I was (in both height and girth) and the clothes in the box were not only from the 1970s, they were fit only for small second graders.

We returned to our respective classrooms and took the expected ribbing from our peers. Even my teacher got in on the fun calling me “Mark Spitz.”

Moral of the story: Monday the 13th is worse than the Friday the 13th. Especially when it rains on Sunday the 12th.